Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

18th January 2015

You can’t spell YouTube without O-U-T
Posted by at 1.12pm | Gay | No responses

Twin brothers Austin and Aaron Rhodes phoned their dad with some news (spoiler alert: they’re both gay).

There’s a lot of cynical comment over their decision to film this moment and put it on YouTube. I, for one, am glad they did, as it highlights the immense difficulty that gay in coming out to their loved ones. I doubt there’s a gay person alive who doesn’t remember a moment like this. The tears. The anxiety. The sentence started but not finished: “I am…”

It shouldn’t be that hard. If we want to make life easier for LGBT youth, let’s start here. Educate parents. Educate teens. Stop making gay kids feel like they have some strange “otherness” to them that people won’t accept.

21st December 2014

Rolling Ronny
Posted by at 8.30pm | Films, Gay | No responses

Ronny & I is an entertaining LBGT short film and a nice take on the well-worn “coming out story” genre. It’s shot in the style of handheld mobile phone footage so it’s a bit shaky and disjointed, but once you get past that it’s a fun watch. Well worth 20 minutes of your time.

One extra thought from me (with a minor spoiler) below…

Read the rest of this post »

13th July 2014

Thorpe Lark
Posted by at 8.00pm | Gay, In the News | 2 responses

Finally, a Michael Parkinson interview that’s actually worth watching:

After years of denial, swimming champion Ian Thorpe has revealed he is gay in an exclusive interview with Sir Michael Parkinson. The five-time Olympic gold medallist and Australia’s most successful Olympic athlete to date, has revealed his sexuality in an interview to be aired on Australia’s Network Ten on Sunday night.

As ever, people are queuing up to declare that it was “obvious” and they’d always known. I would disagree that it was obvious, not least because in his 2012 autobiography Thorpe said, “For the record, I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight.”

Thorpe now says that it is only recently he felt comfortable telling even close friends and family. “I’ve wanted to [come out] for some time. I didn’t feel I could. Part of me didn’t know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay.”

It’s perhaps understandable that he felt this way. Just this week, an Australian sports commentator has been criticised for referring to a player as “a big poofter” on air. The world of sport still has a way to go.

Thorpe has suffered from depression, which he attributes to the stress of hiding his sexuality for many years. I can well believe it; from personal experience, trying to deny, hide and suppress your homosexuality only leads to misery in the long-term. There are many factors to weigh up when deciding to come out of the closet, but I honestly believe most people are happier out than in.

So, well done Ian Thorpe. I’m sure gay Australian men will be only too eager to welcome you to the team… especially when you look like this:

24th March 2013

Ecce Homo

Rainbow flag fluttering in sunlightGay rights and gay issues have always interested me, and you’ll find reference to them throughout my blog, right back to the earliest days. Nowadays, the reasons are obvious. However, for the first seven years of the blog’s life, I was hamstrung by the fact that I was out to almost no-one.

I thought I was being quite clever, carefully wording my posts in such a way that I could demonstrate I was a champion of gay rights without actually coming out and saying that I was gay myself. However, when I was finally brave enough to start coming out to people, a response I got more than once was, “I know, I read your blog.”

Waiting until the age of 27 to come out is not ideal, and it’s something I regret bitterly (especially as a lot of my friends and family already knew, or at least suspected). There are many reasons that I left it so late, but discussion of those reasons is something more appropriate for a revealing therapy session, rather than the blog. So, on with the flashback!

Read the rest of this post »

27th January 2013

The Kids Are All Right
Posted by at 9.21pm | Gay | 1 response

Two videos appeared on YouTube recently which gave me reason to be cheerful about the future for teenagers who are in the process of coming to terms with their sexuality.

First, Jacob Rudolph, who came out to his entire high school class while accepting an award at a school ceremony. This video of his great speech (which unfortunately gets drowned out by the noise slightly) was filmed and posted by his proud father.

On this side of the pond, former Young Apprentice candidate, Harry Hitchens, has created a lovely coming out video:

Life is still tough for a gay kid. But when teenagers like these have the guts to stand up and be counted, you just know that things are getting better every day.

24th October 2011

Posted by at 7.53pm | Gay | 1 response

Zachary Quinto (Sylar in Heroes and Spock in the Star Trek reboot), came out last week.

It’s impossible to state how happy this news makes me. A popular actor, whose career is very much in the ascendancy – in an industry which still largely demands that its leaing men are red-blooded heterosexuals – has decided that he is no longer going to deny his true identity.

And the best part was how he did it, by just casually – nonchalantly, even – dropping it into the conversation during an interview with New York magazine.

His eight-month role in Angels was both “the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as an actor and the most rewarding” he says. Having to inhabit that terrible lost world, if only in his mind, took a toll. “And at the same time, as a gay man, it made me feel like there’s still so much work to be done, and there’s still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed.”

In a world where positive gay role models are in short supply, Quinto’s coming out is a welcome development. It also gives an added dimension to all that Kirk/Spock slash fiction.

Now, do you think we’ll actually get a gay character in Star Trek at some point? It has been 45 years, you’d think they’d get round to it soon.

4th May 2011

Friends in Hysén Places
Posted by at 6.55pm | Gay | No responses

I pre-scheduled this post before I left for Tallinn on 3rd May!

Attitude Active Cover with Anton HysenThe new issue of Attitude is out now and features an interview with two newly out sportsmen – cricketer Steven Davies and footballer Anton Hysén.

Every article I’ve seen about him makes me like him even more, because Hysén consistently comes across as a thoroughly decent, down-to-earth man. He speaks eloquently in interviews. His sexuality is a non-issue: to his team-mates and his manager, he is just one of the lads. He has experienced some homophobia from the terraces, but seems to be taking it in his stride.

He was born in Liverpool while his dad Glenn was playing for LFC, and he still supports the team (in the Attitude interview he reveals that his role model is Steven Gerrard). He currently plays for a Swedish 4th division team but hopes to develop his career. And that is the great part – he is coming out at the start of career, a move that would have damaged his chances of success not long ago.

It’s so refreshing to see someone so totally at ease with himself about being gay and what that means. In the second decade of the 21st century, sexuality is no longer the barrier it once was.

The full article, which is well worth reading, can be found in the Summer 2011 issue of Attitude. It is out now at all good newsagents (and some bad ones as well, probably), or you can buy a digital copy for computer or iPad.

22nd March 2011

In which Robert pretends to know about football
Posted by at 9.59pm | Gay | 2 responses

Anton Hysén plays for the lower leagues of Swedish football, but he has made headlines around the world after coming out as gay earlier this month. Two weeks later, the subject is still a talking point.

There’s a wonderfully positive article in today’s Daily Mail, of all places (as usual, ignore the comments). I love this little nugget of information:-

He was born in Liverpool during his dad’s time at the club and is still an obsessive fan, bellowing out You’ll Never Walk Alone in tiny clubhouse showers, emerging with a Liverpool towel and speaking of his admiration for Steven Gerrard.

There’s also a brief piece on Hysén over on the BBC Sport blog, accompanied by a good, frank report where he talks about the response — generally, positive attention from all over the world, marred by the odd piece of hate mail. He seems determined to treat the whole thing as no big deal, which it shouldn’t be, really. Overall, he seems remarkably happy with his position in life.

Mind you, I would be happy too if I was standing next to this man:-

Anton Hysén and friend in the changing room

The main theme of a lot of the articles I’ve read is: when will a British player follow suit? It’s difficult to know what the reaction would be – the Guardian’s secret footballer believes that fan abuse would still be rife. On the other hand, the Professional Footballers Association has pledged to support any players who do take this big step.

It will be a brave man who decides to be the first. However, the fact that people are talking about it openly means that the taboo has been slightly broken, meaning it is much more likely that we will see a gay footballer in the English leagues within the next few years. And in a world where football players are idolised by millions, hopefully he can be a much needed positive role model.

28th February 2011

All out at 24
Posted by at 1.10pm | Gay | 4 responses

Here’s a good news story to start the week, as England cricketer Steven Davies reveals that he – ahem – bats for the other team:-

The 24-year-old Surrey player said he had decided to make the announcement after months of personal conflict.

In a frank and moving interview with today’s Daily Telegraph, Davies, who started his professional cricketing career with Worcestershire when he was 18, said he could no longer bear to lie about his sexuality.

I like to think that it was James Anderson’s nude photoshoot for Attitude a few months back that helped him along. In fact, I just like to think about James Anderson’s nude photoshoot.

The extended interview with Davies is well worth reading, even for non-cricket fans. It’s a textbook example of the problems faced by someone who is hiding their sexuality. The misery of being in the closet is a situation I can sympathise with.

In dressing rooms, hotel rooms and coffee bars he felt uncomfortable and dreaded being asked even the most innocuous questions about his love life. “Sooner or later, the conversation would come round to whether I had a girlfriend. I was scared of that. I could never be totally relaxed.”

Some will dismiss his announcement as unimportant and irrelevant. Maybe, in an ideal world, it would be. At this moment in time, however, the reality is that gay people in the world of sport face huge barriers which still need much work to break down. So well done to Steven Davies – not just for coming out, but for doing it in the Daily Telegraph of all papers. Retired colonels up and down the country will have been choking on their marmalade at breakfast.